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Sunday, March 13, 2011

National Public Radio, the New York Times, and the Jews

National Public Radio is not rabidly anti-Semitic. In this respect it is not like, say, Mr. David Duke or the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. But NPR has its own version of a gentleman's polite anti-Semitism, something we ordinarily associate with upper-class clubs of England. And the New York Times isn't anti-Semitic at all, it's just not interested in the question.

Last week, in a sting operation, two of NPR's top executives -- Ron Schiller and Betsy Liley -- were caught on tape in an expensive restaurant huddling with people they thought were rich Muslims about to give them $5 million. Many embarrassing things were said by Ms. Liley and especially by Mr. Schiller, and much of it was reported by mainline media. But Mr. Schiller's anti-Semitic utterances were suppressed by most. A notable exception was ABC-TV, which came through in an honorable way. But not the NY Times ! It seems that where anti-Semitism is concerned, the Times likes to averts its eyes. Not fit to print in the NYT version of journalistic ethics.

Mr. Schiller has now been forced to resign from NPR as a result of these revelations. He violated the first law of gentlemanly anti-Semitism: do it, but don't get caught. As for Ms. Liley, she is on some sort of administrative leave, but, at least for now, she's still on board at NPR.

In the video that follows, note the genteel, self-satisfied, self-righteous, self-styled "liberal" mannerisms of Mr. S. And note his body language as he opines on this and that. No, no, no -- he will not accuse Jews of dominating all the media, only the print media. As for Ms. Liley, she really comes to life when she exclaims "I like that" in response to the ostensible Islamist's praise of NPR as "National Palestine Radio."


Unknown said...

Ron Schiller had already given notice to NPR that he was leaving for another job, so he didn't resign over this, but he did decide to leave early as a result. I would say that polite mainstream media are often insensitive to antisemitism, but this doesn't make them antisemitic. Still, you're right to take NPR and the Times to task.

Yesterday (Saturday) evening, NPR evening news host Robert Siegel hosted a fascinating conversation at the New School between Rebecca Goldstein and David Biale on the nature of Jewish secular identity. Siegel revealed himself to be a synagogue goer and an engaged and
informed Jew. There are other prominent Jewish voices on NPR as well. NPR is not at all antisemitic, not even "politely" so.

Unknown said...

I do realize that some of NPR's very best friends are Jews. So I am not surprised that there is a staff member there who attends synagogue. But that does not rule out an anti-Semitism, hand held over mouth, on the part of the top NPR executives.

We cannot be sure of how typical Schiller's sentiments are of the (discreetly expressed) sentiments of others in the top leadership at NPR. It is rare that cocktail talk of such folk gets captured on video. All we know is what has come out. And that -- well, if you don't want to call it anti-Semitism that is your right; the definition of anti-Semitism is under some dispute. But in my book, Schiller falls smack into the category. Mind you, as I said, his is an anti-Semitism of the polite type, not like that of Adolf Hitler, more like that of Martin Niemöller. (Concerning the latter, you might want to look at my piece on half-Jews in Nazi Germany, which you can find on

Richard K said...

NPR should have figured it was too good to be true; getting paid $5 Million to express sentimenmts they already had.

This must be a biter pill for them; no $5M, exposure, firings and risk of losing federal funds.

Sometimes things happen the way they're supposed to.

Anonymous said...

Most of NPR's announcers have Jewish names, or are we not supposed to notice that?